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Can Chickens Eat Red Cabbage?

Can Chickens Eat Red Cabbage?

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There are different types of foods that your backyard chickens can feed on. It is advisable to give your birds other food as a supplement to the commercial feed. If you grow red cabbage, you might be wondering can chickens eat red cabbage?

Yes, you can feed your chickens on red cabbage. It has more vitamin A when compared to green cabbage. Generally, cabbage is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is also easy to consume and can be very nutritious to your birds.

Although it is safe for chickens, moderation is essential when feeding them. Cabbage is among the most popular treats for backyard chickens.

It is also easy to prepare and has a wide range of nutrients. Besides, it is reasonably priced and widely available.

If you feed your backyard chickens on cabbage, they will remain active, happy, and pleased. As a result, your birds will live a longer and more productive life. You can be sure of the chickens providing you with a lot of eggs and quality meat.

Is It Safe For Your Chickens to Eat Cabbage?

Red cabbage is very safe for your backyard chickens to eat. However, it might cause a change in the color of a chicken’s poop. If you feed it to your chickens, you might notice that the color of their poop will become darker instead of the usual color. 

Generally, there is no harm in giving your chickens red cabbage. Once the cabbage is out of the chicken’s digestive tract, the poop will return to its normal color.

However, you will have to be keen on the source of the cabbage. In most cases, red cabbage bought from the stores is grown using pesticides which can be very harmful to your chickens.

If you feed your chickens on them, it can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. Worse still, it can make the birds sick and eventually lead to death.

If you buy cabbages that you are not sure whether chemicals are used or not, you should wash them properly before feeding them to your backyard chickens.

Is it Healthy for Chickens to Eat Red Cabbage?

Cabbage is usually low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber. It is also abundant in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Red cabbage has about ten times vitamin

A concentration as compared to the more famous green cabbage. Besides, it has a wide variety of minerals that are beneficial to chickens. 

Feeding red cabbage to your flock is one of the best methods to ensure that they get healthy food instead of insufficient food. In addition, it will also have some diversity in the diet of chickens. 

Can You Feed Red Cabbage to Baby Chickens?

The stomach of a newborn chick is quite sensitive and fragile after they have been hatched. If you give your chicks vegetables before they reach a particular age, it could lead to diarrhea.

Therefore, your chicks should be strictly fed on a starter feed. It is formulated with the right amount of nutrition to meet the dietary needs of your baby chickens.

When your chicks are about three weeks old, you can start introducing them slowly to vegetables. You can therefore feed cabbage to them. However, this has to be done in moderation.

It is advisable to wait until when the body and gut of the chick have grown enough before you start feeding them on red cabbage.

How to Feed Red Cabbage to Your Chickens

Feeding your chickens on cabbage is easy and enjoyable. It is one of the main reasons why most backyard chicken keepers give their hens food other than the usual pelleted feed. 

There are several ways through which you feed your chickens on red cabbage:

  • Scatter the leaves around to give your birds something to run around with and forage for.
  • Shred-it up into tiny pieces and then add the pieces to their feeder

You can also drill a hole through the whole cabbage, thread a thick string or some rope through and hang it for the chickens to eat. This is one of the best ways to keep your chickens active and busy for a while.

How Many Red Cabbages Can You Feed Your Chickens?

You should give your backyard chickens red cabbage in moderation like other chicken treats. Giving them a lot of the cabbage will likely deprive them of the nutrition they need.

Besides, offering your chickens a lot of goodies may result in obesity which has several health issues and may reduce the lifespan of your chickens.

The most appropriate diet of a chicken should consist of 10% treats and 90% full chicken feed. She may develop thyroid problems if you feed your hen regularly on cabbage or similar items.

Therefore, you will have to give red cabbage to your flock in small amounts.

How Often Can Your Chickens Eat Cabbage?

As mentioned earlier, you should avoid feeding your hens on too much cabbage every time. At most, red cabbage and other vegetables should account for not more than 10% of the diet of your flock.

If you realize that the consumption of feed by your chickens has decreased or they are hardly touching their feed, then there could be a possibility that you are offering them excess treats.

Therefore, it could be better to feed your birds red cabbage once or twice a week.

Other Vegetables That Chickens Can Eat

In addition to red cabbage, there are several other vegetables that you can give your chickens to feed on. Here are some of them:


Celery is one of the best trets for backyard chickens because of its nutrition. To make the celery safe for your chickens to eat, you will have to remove fiber from it.

You can then dice it or cut it into smaller pieces. This will make it easy for your chickens to peck and eat.


Lettuce comes in many varieties which are safe for your chickens to feed on. However, the iceberg lettuce variety may not be safe for them.

This lettuce is high in water content and has very little nutrition. Too much water can easily lead to diarrhea and as well as other digestive issues.

You should feed your chickens on Romaine lettuce which has less water and more nutrition.


Chickens will enjoy eating radishes and even red leaves. It can be very difficult for your chicken to eat the whole vegetable.

Therefore, you will need to chop and grate the radishes first before giving your chickens. This will make it easier for the birds to eat.


Spinach is a superfood that will offer your chickens a lot of great nutrition. It is one of the best leafy greens that you can give your backyard chickens. 

Spaghetti Squash

Although spaghetti squash is rare in some parts, it is among the best vegetables that your chickens can eat. It is easy to cook. All you will have to do is slice it in half and then allow your chickens to peck from the flesh inside the skin.

Foods that Chickens Should Not Eat

There are certain foods that you should avoid giving your chickens as they can be harmful and lead to several health issues. Here are some of the foods that you should never give your birds:

Raw Beans

Raw beans contain a very toxic compound that can be very harmful to chickens. When consumed in large amounts, it can eventually lead to the death of the chicken. However, you can neutralize this compound by cooking the beans properly. 

Processed Foods

As a backyard chicken keeper, you should avoid feeding your chickens processed foods. This is because most of them are hard to digest and do not have an excellent nutritional value. If you have any junk food, you should keep it for yourself.


Coffee contains a wide range of compounds such as caffeine that can be very harmful when chickens consume. Therefore, you should avoid feeding your chickens on coffee as it can potentially lead to several health issues. 

Avocado Skin and Pits

You should avoid giving your chickens avocado skin and pits as both can be very harmful. They can lead to various health issues and even cause death. However, you can give them the avocado flesh as it is safe.

Green Potatoes

Raw potatoes contain harmful toxins that can cause several health problems when given to chickens. Therefore, you should ensure that your birds do not access any green or raw potatoes within the homestead. Instead, you can give them well-cooked potatoes in small amounts.

Moldy Foods

No chicken keeper would want to give his chickens moldy foods. However, it is important to keep an eye on their feed or any other food that might be spoiling. Mold spores are toxic to chickens and can even to death.


Chickens can eat red cabbage as well as green cabbage. They are rich in vitamins and minerals. However, you must feed your chickens on red cabbage in small amounts.

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